Back ache • One would recognise sciatica (painful disorder from the hip down the back of the thigh and surrounding areas) by the following symptoms: Dull ache in the buttock, sharp shooting pain down the back of the leg and in the foot of the affected side, a lame or numb feeling down the affected leg, burning or tingling in the toes and certain areas of the leg, the skin may be very sensitive to touch and the foot may not have full range of motion. • Massage the affected foot, leg and buttock to help relieve pain, inflammation and the burning ache of sciatica. • Women often don’t take enough care when bending and picking up weighty objects and even other children when expecting, and this makes them more prone to stumbling and tripping, which together with the stretched and softened ligaments, means the body cannot compensate as effectively and lower back injury is more likely. • If you have a previous back injury, discuss exercise and posture in pregnancy with a physiotherapist. • Ensure a sensible exercise programme throughout pregnancy - walking and swimming are wonderful for overall muscle tone and strength of back muscles. • Rest frequently during an acute sciatica attack. • Wear a Carriwell Pregnancy Band to support the entire abdominal and lower back region, contributing to less pressure in the lower back area and better posture. Swelling • An expectant woman’s blood circulation is often compromised due to the weight of the whole pregnancy (not just baby) on the major blood vessels in the abdominal area, keeping blood flow from being as efficient as normal. • As pregnancy progresses, many women are often less agile and mobile and that too makes blood circulation less efficient. • The hands and feet, being relatively bony areas, show water retention fastest as there is so little fleshy area to accommodate the swelling. • Another fairly common area where swelling can be troublesome is the fluid of the eyes, leading to visual disturbances and sometimes one cannot wear contact lenses and may even need a new lens prescription for spectacles. • Nasal congestion may well also be a form of swelling experienced in pregnancy, rather than a cold or sinus congestion. • Swelling can however be a serious symptom if accompanied by other signs like protein in the urine, elevated blood pressure, visual disturbances, headaches, dizziness and nausea. • Walk briskly for five minutes of each hour especially if in a standing or sedentary occupation. • Do ankle and calf exercises while seated to stimulate circulation. • Do not cross legs at ankles or knees while seated. • Walk briskly each day for at least 20 minutes. • Rest sufficiently with your feet up to counteract swelling. • Plunge feet into a tub of cold water to relieve swelling and pain. • See your doctor urgently to check for toxaemia of pregnancy if you have any of the serious symptoms listed above, you notice swelling in the morning already, if baby’s pattern of movement changes significantly or you do not feel well, especially if you are close to or in the third trimester of pregnancy.
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